Oakland County Sheriff Testifies about Heroin Epidemic

OAKLAND COUNTY, MI – Sheriff Michael Bouchard testified in Senate Judiciary Committee on September  30th, 2014, on Senate Bill 1049 which will give law enforcement officers the ability to carry Naloxone to reverse opioid and heroin overdoses. Sheriff Bouchard

The heroin epidemic has a grip on communities across the United States and Oakland County is ready to be one of the first in the state to equip its officers upon this bills passage.

Multiple articles have been written about the devastating effects that heroin has had on areas throughout Michigan.

Senator Schuitmaker is the sponsor of this bill.  The intent of the bill reads as follows:

A bill to allow peace officers to carry and administer opioid antagonists in certain circumstances; to provide access to opioid antagonists by law enforcement agencies and peace officers; and to limit the civil and criminal liability of law enforcement agencies and peace officers for the possession, distribution, and use of opioid antagonists under certain circumstances.

Young people of the Waterford, MI area are trying, many for the first time, heroin with deadly consequences in several instances.

Jeannie Richards lost her son to Heroin addiction on Jan. 27, 2011.  She discovered that nine others in her neighborhood have died from same addiction.

In 2012, the Oakland County Medical Examiner’s Office totaled 281 deaths that were classified as undetermined, which is the category most drug-related deaths fall under.  Oakland County health officials in June of 2013 sent out a warning to residents of the sharp increase in heroin overdose cases in the past few years.

Heroin is cheap, is easy to find and is highly addictive. How many times have we heard or read that? Too many. The recent high-profile death of actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman put a spotlight on the heroin crisis. Heroin has a high risk of accidental overdose.

The heroin user never really knows what level of dosage they may be taking.  Heroin that has been heavily “cut” or “stepped on” by mixing it with other ingredients, such as Fentanyl, and they suddenly find themselves with a batch of pure heroin, the consequences can be fatal. Heroin has caused dozens of deaths across the Northeast.

This particular bill would give officers the chance to save lives that otherwise might be lost if they were not equipped with the tools necessary.


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